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Find more Top 10 Books on the Environment & Sustainability
With wildfires rampaging, sea levels and temperatures rising, glaciers and forests disappearing, and an accelerating mass extinction underway, what subject could be more urgent than the environment and all the obstacles we face in our quest for sustainability? The titles below address the issues with scientific precision, poetic insight, social concern, and an inspiring commitment to knowledge and action.
All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change. By Michael T. Klare. 2019. Holt/Metropolitan, $30 (9781627792486).
Combating global warming, Klare reveals, is a high priority for America’s military leadership given the global security issues generated as super-storms, floods, wildfires, drought, and famine cause refugee crises and other emergencies.
Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? By Bill McKibben. 2019. Holt, $28 (9781250178268).
Environmental leader McKibben contrasts the damage caused by our reliance on fossil fuels and the lies of the carbon industry with the promise of renewable energy, and cautions against the misuse of artificial intelligence and bioengineering.
Horizon. By Barry Lopez. 2019. Knopf, $30 (9780394585826).
Lopez reflects on nature’s glory and his world travels, sharing his profound concerns about the decimation of the living world and indigenous cultures, and the daunting challenges of a changing climate.
The Ice at the End of the World: Greenland’s Secret Past and Earth’s Perilous Future. By Jon Gertner. 2019. Random, $28 (9780812996623); e-book, $13.99 (9780812996630).
Gertner dramatically chronicles 130 years of daring and dangerous expeditions to Greenland’s vast ice sheet, culminating in drilling for ice cores, which reveal the unnerving fact that the climate can “change quickly and drastically.”
Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have. By Tatiana Schlossberg. 2019. Grand Central, $28 (9781538747087); e-book, $14.99 (9781538747094).
Climate journalist Schlossberg traces the links between consumption and climate change in this clever, unexpectedly charming examination of the environmental impact of technology, food production, fast fashion, and transportation.
Losing Earth: A Recent History. By Nathaniel Rich. 2019. Farrar/MCD, $25 (9780374191337).
Rich offers a clarifying, if galling, history of failed battles over climate change, outright denial, greenwashing, willful ignorance, and insistence on maintaining the status quo.
Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster. By Adam Higginbotham. 2019. Simon & Schuster, $29.95 (9781982110789).
Higginbotham’s intense, in-the-moment account of the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear-power plant in 1986 focuses on the people involved and the ongoing global consequences.
Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard. By Douglas W. Tallamy. 2020. Timber, $29.95 (9781604699005).
Tallamy makes the case for developing a 20-million-acre Homegrown National Park, a fantastical idea rooted in the interconnections between native plants, insects, geography, humans, and other animals.
Throwaway Nation: The Ugly Truth about American Garbage. By Jeff Dondero. 2019. Rowman & Littlefield, $34 (9781538110324).
Humans are the only known species to create nonbiodegradable waste, notes Dondero as he enumerates our wasteful ways and their consequences, and offers remedies.
Troubled Water: What’s Wrong with What We Drink. By Seth M. Siegel. 2019. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, $29.99 (9781250132543); e-book (9781250132550).
Siegel details the many threats against public water systems, identifying chemical contaminants, illuminating the laws meant to regulate them, and suggesting more rigorous oversight.
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